By Michael Baadke
The United States Postal Service has added four new holiday stamps to its 2018 stamp program.
A nondenominated ($1.15) global forever stamp showing a single poinsettia flower is planned. The round stamp will pay the international first-class letter rate for mail weighing 1 ounce or less.
Though the global forever stamp is scheduled for an Aug. 26 issue date in Kansas City, Mo., the Postal Service has advised that no first-day ceremony is planned.
In celebration of Christmas, a nondenominated (50¢) forever stamp featuring a Madonna and Child portrait by Italian Renaissance artist Bachiacca will be issued Oct. 3 in Santa Fe, N.M..
A menorah is featured on a new Hanukkah forever stamp that reproduces Jewish folk art paper-cutting techniques, according to the Postal Service. The stamp will be offered as a joint issue with Israel, with an Oct. 16 ceremony in Newport, R.I.
A forever stamp for Kwanzaa depicts a family of three enjoying the annual Pan-African holiday celebration. It has been assigned an Oct. 10 issue date, and will debut in Raleigh, N.C.
These four stamps will be offered in addition to the Sparkling Holidays Santa set of four previously announced.
According to the Postal Service, the Sparkling Holidays set will be issued Oct. 11 with a ceremony in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
In its July 24 announcement of the new issues, the Postal Service also advised that it continues to offer several holiday forever stamps originally issued in 2016: Diwali (Scott 5142), Eid (5092), Christmas Nativity (5144), Christmas Madonna and Child (5143), Kwanzaa (5141) and Hanukkah (5153), as well as the 2017 Christmas Carols set of four (5247-5250).
The Poinsettia global forever stamp features a photograph by Betsy Pettet of the traditional Christmas flowering plant.
“Taken from above, the photo captures the beauty of the green leaves, the red bracts, and the yellow flowers in the center of the plant,” the Postal Service said.
Connect with Linn’s Stamp News:
“Poinsettias are now as much a part of the holidays as evergreens and mistletoe; tens of millions of plants are sold during the season.”
Greg Breeding designed the stamp working with USPS art director William J. Gicker.
The Postal Service will issue the stamp in a pane of 10.
The new Madonna and Child stamp for 2018 shows a detail of the oil-and-gold-on-panel painting Madonna and Child from the early 1520s, by the artist Franceco d’Ubertino Verdi (1494-1557), known as Bachiacca.
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “This devotional painting shows the Madonna and Child amidst a selection of carefully depicted flowers—jasmine, cornflower, rose, and sweetbriar—all of which were symbols of the Virgin or Christ in the Renaissance.”
The painting is part of the New York museum’s Jack and Belle Linsky collection.
Breeding and Gicker also served as designer and art director, respectively, for the Madonna and Child forever stamp.
The Hanukkah stamp, planned as a joint issue with Israel, is based on a cut-paper design by artist Tamar Fishman. The stamp designer is USPS art director Ethel Kessler.
“Fishman made a pencil sketch of the design,” according to the Postal Service, “then cut the two-dimensional image on white paper with a fine blade. She chose blue-purple and green papers for the background to highlight the central design. Behind the menorah is a shape reminiscent of an ancient oil jug that represents the heart of the Hanukkah miracle. Additional design elements include dreidels — spinning tops used to play a children’s game during the holiday — and a pomegranate plant with fruit and flowers.”
The stamp celebrates the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which begins this year at sundown on Dec. 2 and ends at nightfall on Dec. 10.
The new Kwanzaa forever stamp is the seventh to commemorate the holiday since the 32¢ Kwanzaa stamp was issued Oct. 22, 1997 (Scott 3175).
The new design uses artwork by Floyd Cooper that depicts a man, woman and child gathered before a table covered with a straw mat that holds the seven lit candles of the kinara, various fruits and vegetables including three ears of corn, and the Kwanzaa unity cup.
The holiday was established in 1966 and is observed today from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 by many African-Americans as a celebration of family and culture with symbols of African traditions and community.
Formats for the Madonna and Child, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stamps were not announced, but Madonna and Child stamps in recent years have been issued in double-sided panes of 20, while Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stamps have been issued in panes of 20 with margin selvage.
Updated July 27 to add information about issue dates.